Special Report: The Future of Lighting

As incandescent light bulbs fade from use, LEDs and compact fluorescents vie to replace them

The venerable incandescent lightbulb is on its way out, thanks to a revolution in lighting technology. IEEE Spectrum has chronicled the rise of compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs, as engineers have struggled to improve on Edison’s original invention
MULTIMEDIA
 
putting new bulbs to the test last hurrah
Leaving the Lights On

AUDIO SLIDESHOW: Take a tour through a testing center that studies CFLs, LEDs, and human health
 Last Hurrah for Banned Bulbs

AUDIO SLIDE SHOW: A little shop in New York City celebrates the glory of the lightbulb in the waning days of incandescence
 
maker faire 2008 everything is illuminated
Maker Faire 2008: Smart LEDs

VIDEO: These little RGB LEDs each have their own microcontroller for complete control
 Everything is Illuminated

SLIDESHOW: United Visual Artists is a London-based group of engineers, artists, and designers who create technologically sophisticated light displays
 

   
FEATURES
 
photo of incandescent
Requiem for the Incandescent Lightbulb

A look back at a century of light

requiem
Deutschland Devours the Last of Its 100-Watt Incandescent Bulbs

Reports of hoarding on eve of European ban on some incandescents
 
kamens house photo Empire Off the Grid
AUGUST 2009
Dean Kamen is turning his private island into a proof of concept for zero-net energy
 
the LEDs dark secret The LED's Dark Secret
AUGUST 2009
Solid-state lighting won’t supplant the lightbulb until it can overcome the mysterious malady known as “droop”
 
rock show gets the LED out A Rock Show Gets the LED Out
JANUARY 2009
Stadium acts like Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead are trading pyrotechnics and JumboTrons for LEDs and software
 
light from silicon Light from Silicon
OCTOBER 2005
For decades, silicon was a semiconducting dim bulb, but now we can make it into LEDs that match the best made from more exotic materials
 
lighting up andes Lighting Up the Andes
DECEMBER 2004
A Canadian couple is lighting up remote villages in Bolivia using white LEDs, solar panels, and a little help from their friends
 
let there be light Let There Be Light
SEPTEMBER 2002
And let it come from cool, clear semiconductors rather than fragile, white-hot filaments
 

   
THE ILLUMINATA
 
jim benya the illuminator
Jim Benya: The Illuminator

Jim Benya found his niche as a cutting-edge lighting designer by following his environmentalist conscience
 
ash nehru Ash Nehru: Everything Is Illuminated
FEBRUARY 2008
Ash Nehru writes software code that drives intricate interactive lighting displays, redefining the way people view art
 
tales of nakamura Tales of Nakamura
MAY 2007
Bright lights, piles of cash, courtroom drama, and a lone inventor
 
fritz morgan Fritz Morgan: LEDs Into Gold
FEBRUARY 2005
When a Broadway show or an office building in Hong Kong needs a dazzling light display, who ya gonna call?
  

   
MORE STORIES
   
racetrack Organic LEDs Head to the Racetrack
JUNE 2010
BLOG POST: One car in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, in France, will be sporting a new kind of sponsor logo
 junji kido of yamagata univ Let There Be (a New Kind of) Light
JULY 2007
ARTICLE: Organic LEDs seem set to transform the business of bulbs
 
quantum dots Quantum Dots Enhance LED Lighting
DECEMBER 2009
ARTICLE: Tiny semiconductor crystals could produce better colors for lighting and computer displays
 beetle LEDs Could Borrow From Beetles
JUNE 2007
ARTICLE: The whitest white in nature belongs to an insect, and it has lessons for lighting
 
bright future The Future’s So Bright
AUGUST 2009
ARTICLE: A flashlight made from high-output LEDs is not for the fainthearted
 butterfly Butterfly Effect
FEBRUARY 2006
ARTICLE: Sophisticated method of manipulating light is discovered in Princeps nireus
 
cheaper led Cheaper LEDs Possible by Growing Gallium Nitride on Silicon
AUGUST 2008
ARTICLE: Engineers take a step toward cheaper solid-state lighting
 better bulb A Better Light Bulb?
FEBRUARY 2005
ARTICLE: A titanium dioxide coating gives this lightbulb the power to eat germs and odors
 
carbon Selling Lighting by the Metric Ton of Carbon
AUGUST 2007
ARTICLE: LED lighting outfit thinks builders will be turned on by greenhouse-gas reduction more than by wattage savings